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An unidentified woman talks on her cellphone about the new 40-inch Samsung LCD-TV in her cart on Black Friday at the Fair Lakes Best Buy store on November 25, 2011 in Fairfax, Virginia. Prices were deeply discounted on lots of electronic items. People camped out for days to be first in line and the line of customers went down the street. ///// malls in California and Virginia were suspending a pilot project that tracked shoppers’ movements, using cellphone signals to learn more about their behaviour. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
An unidentified woman talks on her cellphone about the new 40-inch Samsung LCD-TV in her cart on Black Friday at the Fair Lakes Best Buy store on November 25, 2011 in Fairfax, Virginia. Prices were deeply discounted on lots of electronic items. People camped out for days to be first in line and the line of customers went down the street. ///// malls in California and Virginia were suspending a pilot project that tracked shoppers’ movements, using cellphone signals to learn more about their behaviour. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Big Brother is no longer watching you shop Add to ...

1. There’s an old joke our therapist used to tell us: Just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean nobody’s out to get us. (Okay, it may not be funny, but it was funnier than his bill.) We thought of that when we heard this week that a couple of malls in California and Virginia were suspending a pilot project that tracked shoppers’ movements, using cellphone signals to learn more about their behaviour. The malls backtracked after New York Senator Chuck Schumer suggested there might be some privacy issues at play, especially because shoppers had been told that if they didn’t want to be tracked they had to turn off their cellphones. Ha! That’s truly funny: If we could turn off our cellphones, we wouldn’t have needed all those years of therapy!

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2. A group of B.C. activists certainly wishes Jim Pattison would return their calls. Voters Taking Action on Climate Change believes the Vancouver billionaire is behind the decision preventing them from erecting a billboard next to Westshore Terminals in Delta. The billboard featured a giant mound of coal and the text, “Hey, look over there” – with an arrow pointing toward the terminal, owned by Mr. Pattison – “It’s North America’s largest exporter of global warming.” Pattison Outdoor, which owns the billboard, nixed the ad. Still, the company accepted one that read, “Can B.C. be a climate leader and export 40 million tonnes of coal per year? We don’t think so.” Censorship? It’s not clear. Sort of like the air where they burn coal.

3. Which reminds us: How does Santa keep his North Pole workshop warm? Elf body heat can only go so far, right? Still, the fat and jolly gift-giver is apparently worried that climate change will force him to move to colder climes. (Like, say, outer space? We’re just guessing.) So he – or, rather, David Suzuki and his own merry elves – have created WhereWillSantaLive.ca, a charity website "selling" seasonal items such as reindeer water wings ($19.99), a “solar shine reindeer beacon” (aka Rudolph’s red nose, $29.99), and an “abominable snowmaker” ($49.99). Buyers don’t get anything in return for their money, except a feeling of goodwill. But then, you already know shipping wreaks havoc on the environment. Speaking of which, is Santa’s sleigh a hybrid?

4. If you don’t know the answer, you could always ask one of your office interns to do the research. What’s that, you say? You don’t have an intern? Well, now’s the time to pluck one of your own! Because NABS, the National Advertising Benevolent Society, which helps ad folks in need, is running an online “ intern for a day” auction until Dec. 16 featuring nine ad industry icons, including Taxi’s Paul Lavoie, Pirate Radio/ Age of Persuasion’s Terry O’Reilly, and Zulu Alpha Kilo’s Zak Mroueh, who created the campaign. Of course, if you’re buying an intern, you might want to keep your expectations in check: Before you ask, say, Capital C’s Tony Chapman to fetch you a coffee, you’ll have to get a word in edge-wise first.

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